Foamy cappuccinos, frothy lattes, old-fashioned dark roasts and other highly caffeinated drinks are flowing once again at a gourmet coffee shop that’s popular with local professionals, office workers, court employees and other city dwellers in the heart of downtown Brockton.
This article was written by The Enterprise in November 2020 as the restaurant industry began to return to a "new" normal.
Elvera’s Cafe, located at 132 Main St., recently reopened after eight months, closed for most of the year as a result of a coronavirus pandemic that emptied the downtown of daytime employees, who otherwise would be buzzing around the offices, courthouse buildings, City Hall and other workplaces, said the owner of the coffee shop.
“Most of our customers were business professionals,” said Sandra Martin, who opened Elvera's Cafe in 2015, after working in the restaurant industry since she was a teenager, starting as a young barista in New Bedford. “The reason we hadn't opened until now is the majority of people were working remotely from home and still are. That's definitely challenging.”
The downtown Brockton coffee shop opened last week, now operating from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, with a limited food menu and new contactless online ordering, allowing customers to pay on their phones and pick up at the counter.
However, Martin said those hours could be fluctuating based on the uncertain demand.
“We're basically waiting to see how busy we get. Our sales are cut in half at this point,” Martin said. “It'll take a little time to get the word out that we're here, but we’re still here and we’re open again.”
Prior to the pandemic, it would not be uncommon to see Elvera’s packed with young professionals sipping on their espresso drinks in between double clicks or spurts of typing on their laptops, along with groups of business people chatting over a cup of joe.
In a striking example of how things have changed since then, one of the last public events in downtown Brockton before businesses were forced to shut down was at Elvera's on March 5 for the launch of the Brockton Venture Loan Fund, when the coffee shop was densely packed, wall-to-wall, with bankers, business people and politicians.
Now, there is very limited seating available, in accordance with public health guidelines, Martin said. Plates and ceramic mugs are not available anymore for dine-in customers, only disposable coffee cups and packaging, Martin said.
“If someone wants to come in and sit and do work, they can,” Martin said. “But they obviously have to follow the COVID safety guidelines.” Martin said at the onset of the coronavirus crisis, she never expected to remain closed for so long. Martin said initially she thought it would be a matter of weeks before the coronavirus would die down, and the restrictions on dine-in services would be over.
“It turned out to be a little more serious than a few days,” she said. “Then, it became eight months.”
Despite the difficulties and the new restrictions, Martin said she’s been getting a lot of support from loyal customers of Elvera’s Cafe, which is known for its smooth, highly caffeinated nitro cold brew coffees, served with a frothy head. Outside of the large corporate Starbucks chain, Elvera’s Cafe is one of the only places in the city to get a sophisticated coffee drink.
“I'm really thankful and blessed they keep returning,” said Martin, who’s been a Brockton resident for about 20 years, formerly of Lakeville. “It was very heartwarming to see everyone come back on the first day to support us.”
Martin said she’s a big time coffee lover herself, nowadays drinking an iced coffee made with almond milk and iced cubes made of frozen coffee. “When the ice melts, it's 100 percent coffee,” she said. “It’s really good for people who walk away from their desks and then come back to it.”
Martin, who previously was a manager at the Stoneforge Grill in Easton, said she originally established Elvera’s Cafe’ — named after her late grandmother — because she loves the sense of community that come with little mom and pop coffee shops. Martin said she worked at the Java Bean in New Bedford when she was younger.
“I loved the concept. I like all the customers having a sense of community,” Martin said. “They feel like it's Cheers, where everyone knows your name. It's a gathering place among people who have become friends just by talking to each other. It's about community. That’s what it’s about.”
To read the entire article : After 8 months of COVID closure, gourmet coffee shop Elvera's Cafe reopens in Brockton.